Bruce Lee had a statement to the effect that consciousness of self was the biggest obstacle to a proper physical performance. I think he was referring to a state of mind removed from the usual jabber of human brain activity.
I feel "consciousness of self" can mean different things, according to the context in which it's being used.
If "self" means our knowledge (limited / mind based, in most cases
), then being conscious of this is something hindering to any sort of a training.
It may be more appropriate, though, to understand the "self" as our true nature or spirit. The English language makes it here a bit easier than other languages, because you have the difference between conscious and aware.
Being aware of your body, for instance, means to be able to coordinate it / control it / tune it up to subtle spiritual energies. Being conscious of it it's something totally different.
I'd rather say that you can be conscious of your body, emotions, intellect, etc. But you cannot be conscious of your self (if one understands "self" as our deep / spiritual existence) - because being conscious simply does not touch, does not have any common ground with that self.
What one can do about the self is to slowly become aware if its subtle patterns and functionality
and gradually realize it in its completeness and oneness.
This also melts down thoughts into a reality based perception. It's not so effective to go around thoughts and try to find behind them something higher. You can only do this using again your mind, using and producing other thoughts. It goes faster if one deeply desires this subtle spiritual awareness to manifest - like this you surrender your energies not to the thoughts, but to this unknown yet perception.
And stay receptive to it, as it starts manifesting, and get to know it.
Zazen is meditation in sitting position (za), as being differentiated from the meditation in movement (= acting to achieve good deeds / to get good karma, living in harmony with the divine laws, trying to lead a normal live but keeping your attention in union with the divine, etc). I guess all religions, from Hindus to Catholics, mention these both sides of meditation.
For me Aikido practice is definitely meditation in movement, because I feel we achieve a state of being and clarity of perception very similar to those obtained through sitting meditation. (I've been practicing Sahaja Yoga meditation and it's been quite fun to notice similarities under different expression forms, in yoga and aikido practice.)
In our dojo we do a little bit of mokuso in the beginning and it makes a difference - when I arrived at the dojo a few minutes later and skipped the short mokuso session I had some difficulties tuning up to what was going on there
. But anyway, throughout the training I will feel that the meditation state is getting deeper and there is sort of a balancing and purification going on, beside the physical training. So the meditation is going on, in a different manner. I'm a beginner in a Yoshinkan club, so what I'm being taught is pretty much about physical correctness
, you can imagine. Still, if the persons leading the training are in balance and in tune with their spiritual energies, they might not talk at all about it, but the result is a meditation in movement
It's probably different from one dojo to another, and very much according to your sensei and the rest of the group. If their attention goes too much on the physical side, then it's probably quite necessary to counter balance this tendency through some zazen or a meditation / devotional practice appropriate to your own believes or culture. If they are too meditative,
(is this possible? ), then I don't know
Best of luck!